He’s just 19, but Kameron Bennett’s blossoming business empire — firmly rooted in Minnesota’s hip hop community — aims to redefine the way concerts and parties are promoted in the Twin Cities and beyond.
A DJ by trade, Kam says he still feels most comfortable behind the turntables, but his primary revenue focus has shifted to hosting, booking and organizing shows at clubs both here in Minnesota and a growing list of cities around the country. While the money may be better in Phoenix or Los Angeles (just two markets he’s begun wading into), Kam says he’s on a mission to repair live hip hop’s damaged reputation in Minneapolis.
“When it comes to (concert) promotion, the generation before us trashed everything,” Kam said. “A lot of people ruined it for us, so now we’re trying to build it back up.”
He talks about bringing a “year-round SoundSet vibe” to Minneapolis and showing venue owners, police and investors that—when done right—the Twin Cities can regularly host large hip hop shows.
Kam’s foray into business springs, in part, from his immense popularity on social media—particularly Twitter. His more than 312,000 followers include athletes, porn stars, elite music venues, actresses and hip hop artists from around the world. Kam occasionally includes Vine Videos with his tweets, enabling him to share comical quips, music beats, clips of crowded dance floors and other snippets from his life.
“The Internet stuff that I’ve built up has been over a long time,” Kam said. “I’ve been on Twitter since 2009 — even before I was on Facebook if you can imagine that. When I first started Twitter I was doing something called mass following — basically following a whole lot of people and interacting with them, mostly women.”
But Twitter followers and Vine videos alone aren’t enough to successfully launch an entrepreneurial endeavor into a sector of the entertainment industry infamous for deals gone sour, broken promises and fly-by-night promoters. Kam’s intuitive business sense, spotless track record and contagious charisma that have convinced investors to trust him with dollar amounts that would overwhelm most 19-year-olds — and Kam has delivered.
“We want to step away from bringing in the $5,000-$6,000 artists we’ve been doing and look at bringing artists the $50,000-$60,000 range to Minneapolis — artists like Mac Miller and J. Cole,” he said.
An investor Kam recently met Arizona has already pledged to pay 50 percent of the costs associated with organizing any show Kam sees fit to book. It’s just the latest example of a skeptical prospector being converted into trusted partner.
“A lot of business people won’t take you seriously when they look at your age, or even your experience,” Kam said. “But a lot of times when they sit down and actually hear you out, a lot of older business people are willing to work with a young guy with an idea in his mind.”
Kam and his partner/manager/friend, Abdu Adam, spend a majority of their days working the phones booking shows and most nights mixing business with pleasure wherever the best party is on a given evening. It may sound like an easy life, but the two stress it typically takes weeks of planning to execute a successful dance night.
Further, some Twin Cities venues have balked at hosting the 18+ hip hop events Kam specializes in because of repeated fights and violence associated with younger crowds.
“The problem is the 18+ crowd also comes with a lot of recklessness,” Kam said. “I don’t know why. I’m not that type of person. When I go out, I want to talk to girls, drink, have fun, listen to music and eat food. There’s some people that just like to ruin that — whether it’s violence or just coming for the wrong reasons.”
All shows Kam books allocate healthy budgets to security and crowd control. In fact, Kam says it’s his No. 1 consideration and a concern he revisits frequently during the promotion process. Violence is simply not tolerated, and his reputation amongst venue owners strengthens each time a crowd goes home without incident and payments are delivered on time and as promised.
In five years Kam wants to own at least a handful of venues in several U.S. cities; in 10 years he plans to be enjoying early retirement.
For now, he’s busy but content, and complaints are hard to list.
“I’m super, super happy right now,” Kam said. “I love my life. I just want to maintain what I’m doing right now.”
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